Erik Thorne

OnBucksBasketball - Week 8

For the past month, the Bucks have only had a victory once a week. Though this may not come as a surprise, it has been a tough year for Milwaukee hoops. Yet even as desperate the team may look at the moment, it still brings a toughness to the court nearly every night. This team looks like it wants to win, but for whatever reason just cannot put it together. As hard as it is to see this team struggle, it’s refreshing to see them give a good effort.

The week began with a rousing display of inefficiency against the Knicks at the Bradley Center. Rookie Giannis Antetokoumnpo received his first career start, as coach Larry Drew had promised. After two quick fouls, he returned to the game determined to make an impact with his speed and athleticism. The hungry Antetokoumnpo responded to each note of trash talk by Carmelo Anthony and held the New York star to 9-29 shooting. Point guard Brandon Knight, without the services of OJ Mayo, picked up the slack for a game high 36 points for the Bucks, but Milwaukee would fall in double overtime 107-101. 

Never turning down a chance to go to tropical Cleveland in December, the Bucks made the trip the shores of Lake Erie to take on the Cavaliers. In his three years in the NBA, opposing point guard Kyrie Irving has averaged 28 points a game against Milwaukee. This night proved to be no different, as a pair of Irving three point baskets in overtime for a total of 39 to sink the Bucks hopes for a win.

Returning home the next night, Milwaukee found a way to hang tough with a very streaky Philadelphia team. With the late scratch of center John Henson, the Bucks had to look to the deepest part of their bench in Miroslav Raduljica. Though he has played sparingly this season, the Serbian sensation has shown the ability to score the ball in the post with 14 points in 22 minutes. Also returning to the lineup was Caron Butler, who scored 22 on an array of mid-range jump shots. His return is a big help in the paint, as Butler often is willing to guard a bigger player to make up for Milwaukee’s lack of big men. The Bucks would win 116-106, ending their five game losing streak.

Given general manager John Hammond’s track record, it is easy to guess that many of these players will not return to the team next season. The current rumor is that the Bucks may be interested in dealing Mayo in exchange for a draft pick. If I were in the war room, I would recommend pulling the trigger. Mayo’s talents have been on display for 27 games now and it’s safe to say he is not a starter on a championship team. After all, that’s what the Milwaukee Bucks aim to do.

6 wins/21 losses

BUCK OF THE WEEK! Brandon Knight – 74 points, 27 rebounds, 17 assists